Exploring the Connections Between Healthy Communities and Green Infrastructure by Steven Peck

June 10, 2014 at 11:22 am

By Steven Peck

Over the past two decades researchers have begun developing the tools for quantifying the multiple benefits of living green infrastructure.  Living green infrastructure technologies cover a wide range of strategies from active and passive turf to trees, wetlands, structural soils, green walls and green roofs.  Green infrastructure technologies are becoming increasingly recognized by policy makers as proven and effective ways to solve multiple urban problems.  Yet the many contributions of green infrastructure to our natural and built environments, as well as to human health, are not fully reflected in public policies pertaining to buildings, design practice, community planning or capital and operational investments in infrastructure.


Green infrastructure can deliver preventative health care benefits that translate into reduced expenditures for health care, longer life spans and better quality of life.  With society facing rapidly-escalating public and private health care costs, multi-billion dollar infrastructure deficits, extreme weather events ranging from heat waves to floods and ice storms, broader policy support for living green infrastructure systems provides opportunities to achieve multiple dividends and address multiple needs in our communities.  We need to rapidly adopt new thinking about what constitutes ‘infrastructure’ and implement new policies so that green infrastructure investment can complement traditional grey infrastructure to derive the maximum taxpayer benefits from the billions of public dollars invested each year.

Read the full paper on Exploring the Connections Between Healthy Communities and Green Infrastructure at http://goo.gl/jwNX6.

This topic will be more comprehensively presented during Grey to Green: A Conference on the Economics of Green Infrastructure, Designing For Health, which takes place August 25-26 2014 in Toronto, Canada.  Save $100 if you register by June 16th.  Visit www.greytogreenconference.org for more information.


Read the Summer 2014 (Health) issue of the Living Architecture Monitor, North America’s green roof and wall magazine for FREE at www.livingarchitecturemonitor.com.

Steven Peck is the founder and president of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities.

SPeckSteven Peck is also co-founder of the Green Infrastructure Foundation in Toronto, Canada.  Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC) is a membership-based industry association developing the green (vegetative) roof and wall industry in North America.  GRHC’s mission is to increase the awareness of the economic, social and environmental benefits of green roofs and green walls, and other forms of living architecture through education, advocacy, professional development and celebrations of excellence.  Visit www.greenroofs.org for more information.

Contact Steven at: speck@greenroofs.org  and Tel: 416.971.4494 (233).

Congrats to all the new GRP’s!

August 4, 2009 at 1:06 pm

Green Roof Professional Designation

After almost seven weeks of intense scrutiny and review, Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC) has relased the names of their first “graduating class” of GRP’s, or Green Roof Professionals (download the Press Release “First Green Roof Professionals (GRPs) Announced” of July 21, 2009 here.    These hardy  100+ represent the inaugural group of professionals across multi-disciplinary fields to sit for and pass the GRP exam, held in Atlanta on June 5, 2009 at the 7th Annual Greening Rooftops for Sustainable Communities Conference, Awards & Trade Show.

The purpose of the GRP exam is to establish greenroof professional viability in our growing industrial sector.   Jeffrey L. Bruce, Chair of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, whom I interviewed in May said, “We are very pleased with the caliber of the new GRPs and the fact that they come from both the green arts side, i.e., the living components of a green roof, and the black arts side, i.e., the nonliving components. Industry experts from both the black and the green arts have worked hard over the past six years to develop training materials and a professional exam that covers best practices across the spectrum of professionals, in order to improve multi-disciplinary knowledge and practice in the field.”

Congratulations to the new designees and so many people involved  in the whole process!   Many of our friends, colleagues, and several of our Contributing Editors received their GRP designtion, including Kelly Luckett, The Green Roof Guy; Patrick Carey, The Architecure Editor; and Haven Kiers, The Design Editor.   In fact, Kelly was on the GRHC Training and Accreditation Committee which developed the Green Roof Professional Accreditation program, and he can attest to the countless hours put in by all to ensure quality, integrity  and equity.   But don’t feel too badly for them as, of course, everyone on the GRP Training and Accreditation Committee was grandfathered in and didn’t have to take the actual test!

So what about me?   Remember when I said I was going to take it, too, and to join me?   Yeah, well that never happened.   Long story, but kind of typical for me, I waited too long to actually sign up for the exam and when I tried, it was closed.   It was probably a blessing in disguise, because I hadn’t studied at all and was going to cram for the test at the last minute…   Now I can plan accordingly, study like a normal person and take the GRP exam in any of these North American cities this fall: Chicago (Sept. 18), New York (Oct. 16),  Toronto (Oct. 19), and Seattle (Oct. 30).   And since I am also a greenroof designer, I do think it will be a good thing for me to have, along with my BLA and LEED AP.

So, did you take the test?   What do you think about it?   Share your comments here with us.

See the complete list of Green Roof Professionals in the latest issue of the Living Architecture Monitor online or download a PDF from Green Roofs for Healthy Cities here.   Once again, a job well done to all!

~ Linda V.